« AnteriorContinuar »
ill-proportioned diftribution of blessings souls, can meet misfortune ;--happy as here below, it is more than probable, mortals can be, their hours glide smooth(excepting such only to whom guilt denies ly on, blessed with serenity. In such a peace of mind) that all enjoy a nearly foil, in the sunshine of such a cloudless equal share of felicity. But we all con- temper, (the passions being kept in due sider our particular misfortunes to be order) each virtue too will flourish, and greatest, unknowing, and not confidering piety, integrity, and benevolence, like what more grievous pressure of affliction Elyfian flowers, shoot up in such a cliour neighbours may sustain.
mate. “ Can any one be fo miserable as I Be it your care, my son, to acquire am,” (says the unfortunate Lucio) reduced such a habit of mind, restrain each immofrom a plentiful estate by one adverse derate sally of the soul, and promote and turn of fortune to poverty. “Who ever encourage every generous emotion. It is knew sorrow like mine, (cries Acafte) my needless to mother, but highly necessary to only child, the darling of my eyes, fnatch- reftrain the passions. Aggravate not an ired from the embraces of her parent, just remediable affliction, by adding to it a when the should have been the comfort of fruitless repining. When thou art happy his declining years.” “Oh grief inexpres- in the moderate use of any pleasure, blunt fible! Oh lors irreparable! (exclaims the not its relish by excess, and torment not youthful Philander, robbed of his dear yourself with the view of diftant and unAnilia on the nuptial day) I will not certain evils, but be careful when they long survive ; death only can put a period approach to prevent them. Above all to my grief, Oh wretched Philander --Oh things adhere to virtue, and thun a fatal love."
diffolute life, which can possibly be proThus every one magnifies his own af- ductive of nothing but remorse. Adieu, dictions. Such misfortunes indeed are my son, remember, and put in practice great, and the torrent of sorrow at first these 'precepts of thy dying father; fo will overflow all bounds. But a patient shall content, the chief happiness of man, refignation, and the lenient hand of time, be yours; fo shall your youth be unmoat last will pour a balm into the bleeding lested by the storms of passion, and age, wound.
as it advances, carrying with it the reflecThere are some again who fink beneath tion of a well-fpent life, add to your feevery trifling disaster; while others, re- licity. cure in conscious innocence, with unruffled
On PERSECUTIO N.
THERE is not a more unjust, a more right and wrong, he has fixt a monitor
common, and yet a more ineffectual within, to incite to viriue, and deter from merlod for conviction, and bringing over vice. Thus all agree, murder to be a mona person from his own, to a contrary opi- strous and shocking villainy, the same nion, than force and persecution. That opinion they entertain of theft, robbery, this method is often practifed, all who read and unnatural lufts; on the contrary, history muit acknowledge. The defign of (whatever their practice be) they will exthis treatise is to show,
tol to the skies generosity, charity, bene. J. The injustice, and,
volence, and even piety. But if you ask 2. The inefficacy of this method, and their opinion, whether the church of Engthat force only rivets one more strongly in land, or of Rome, be the true church; his own prejudices and opinions.
whether the Tory or the Whig be the true 1. Divine Providence has thought pro- Patriot, there they will differ, there they per to implant intu mankind different and will exclaim against each other, and they diftine idc3s, 10 tha: one rensible person's will carry their folly and injustice so far, opinion, about a matter indiiterent, is quite as to hate a person more for these indiffecontrary to another person's, who is as rent matters, than if their antagonist was fenable. This is only in matters indiffe. a villain, a robber, or a mean wretch, who rent; but in respect to what is intrinsically basely sold his country for pelf. But how
unjust unjuft is this? One man differs from an- These opinions, so different from each other in all these trivial matters; you can't other, may be embraced by men whore find two persons who will be of the same heads are sensible, and their hearts good : opinion in every thing ; in the choice of men who have only the welfare of their meats, of cloaths, of living, of studies, of country at heart. And yet to the former exercises, of pleasures, every person has his opinion, there will join all the prostitute own opinion, founded on the constitution, and venal Naves of a debauched ministry, disposition, custom, company, and even who will sell their souls and consciences foil. Providence has ordered it so; and for a paultry bribe, men of whom I can only who can say Providence does wrong? exclaim after Mr. Addison, And in my opinion, you may as justly find fault with me for choosing a different co O Portius is there not some hidden curse, lour of a coat from your own, as for pre Some secret thunder in the stores of heav'n, . ferring to go to church where the priest Red with uncommon wrath to blast that wears a surplice, and where I kncel at the
man Sacrament, when you go where the priest Who owes his riches to his country's ruin! wears none, and where you fit at the Sacrament. Both of us think we are in the Again, to the latter opinion, there will . right in our choice of churches and join all the traitors disaffected to the gocloaths; and pray who shall be arbiter vernment, who, breaking thro' the most between us? You can't be more than 1, solemn oaths, only procure a seat in parbecause that would make you judge and liament, and put on the appearance of party. If you consult Reason, the will tell patriotism, to subvert the conftitution ; you, “I have nothing to do in the dispute ; villains ! for surely perjury, in the most it is a matter wholly indifferent to me; I solemn matters is a crime, which cannot have no concern, whether you go to be openly defended by any person ; there church where
where the priest wears a surplice, will likewise join all those pretended .or where he does not; but whether he Patriots, who only exclaim against the gives good advice for rectifying your con wrong steps of a minister, in order to get duet, and amending your morals ; I have that minister disgraced ; and when they no concern whether you fit or kneel at the have got themselves into his place, pro-, Sacrament, but the question is, whether you
the guestion is, whether you ceed in the very same footsteps with their receive it with a due humility and regard predeceffor, and likewise those who exto the holy engagement.you enter into, and claim against the ministry only to enhance whether you perform that engagement by the price of their corruption. And yet leading better lives for the future.” Thus both parties, which is most ftrange, will says Reason ; but how seldom is Reason overlook the failings, and even flatter those consulted ?
mean miscreants of their own party, and Again, in politics, let us consider how will inveigh against one of the other party. unjust the attempt to convince by force is tho’: his role motive be the public good, This man is a Whig ; he sees Europe on because he has the misfortune to differ the brink of a war; he is afraid of a difaf. from them in opinion. fected party at home; he therefore ima. From this diversity of opinions in things gines, that for our security, we cannot immaterial, one may perceive the diffe. have less than 20,000 men, for suporting rence betwixt man who strikes out into the balance of power, and keeping our- a thousand different ways, and has a thoufelves in a posture of defence. A Tory, fand different inclinations and opinions on the other hand, says and thinks too, from another man, and the brute crezthat the balance of power is a meer chi. tion, which have the same sympathy and mæra, raised by a power-grasping and cor- antipathy with others of their own spe. rupt minister, to serve his ambitious de- cies, who all love the same food, and hare figns; that though Europe is on the eve of the same beasts of a different species; a war, we have no concern therewith; all sheep are cowardly, all eagles voracious. that 16000 men are sufficient for all the all foxes cunning, and all tygers cruel. proper use the ministry want for them; As this diversity of opinions and manners that more is burdensome to the nation, Thows the difference betwixt rearon and and only calculated to support a wicked instinct, it likewise Mow's how limited minister in his venal and corrupt views. man is in his perfections, how tittle able
he is to judge of what is good, and what lation to religion and politics, where they is bad ; from hence we may consider the do not interfere with the very basis and fourimperfection of our species, which Al- dation of religion and the state, ought to mighty Wisdom has allowed, and only im. be left open to every perfon's opipica. planted a fufficient capacity in every per. No force, but perfuafion, ought to be wisd. fon to guide him in the paths of virtue, Yet how often is force and perfecution and deter him from vice. But fince be used? The injustice of which, I hope. I has left us the freedom of thinking in have made evident; I should now proceed matters indifferent, as men's judgment to the second thing I proposed to treat of, and custom shall lead and biass them, is viz, the absurdity and folly of this method, it not an unjust thing to pretend to force and that tho' force might stop for a time men to believe what they really do not ? , the mouth, yet thoughts are free, and! to pretend to usurp a power which the when an opportunity offers, the more they Almighty has not done ? If angels behold were before reftrained, so much the more us, good God, how will they be surprised violently will they break out, and that force and shocked at our mutual animosity, only rivets the man more in his proje. about matters we know nothing about, dices; but this I shall refer to another ccor matters as indifferent as Swift's right cafion. or wrong end of an egg ? Opinions, in re
On the Principles and Practices of Free-thinkers.
To the Authors of the British MAGAZINE.
GENTLEMEN, IN your June Magazine, page 301, is the great means of arriving at it: as efI inserted, what is called the Principles tire and generous liberty of the judgand Practices of Free-thinkers; but, with ment is the only road by which a man more propriety, should have been termed can arrive at wisdom; and this is not to the Principles and Practices of Libertines. be limited to any peculiar objects, or tied Whatever was the author's intent in giv. within narrow bounds; but it exterds ing that title, it is plain the judicious and equally to the whole system of the created candid free-thinkers can never merit such world, and the actions of all that live in treatment, unless in the eyes of ignorant it, and equally takes in the judgment and bigots, or those who never think at all. the will.
Nothing is more to the honour of our That just and noble freedom of the nature, or to the author of that nature, judgment, by means of which knowledge than an open freedom of judgment,' and lies open to us, confifts in the candid and uncontrolled examination of all things : unbiased examination of every thing that this only can shew us the excellence of offers to us, without a pre-determined this glorious quality ; and as all things liking or diftafte, a blindly resolved adora that are the work of the same great hand tion, or more blindly refolved contempt. are also great and good the more freely The man who would in reality judge freely we examine them, the more devoutly and must enter on che, talk unbiatied and onreverently shall we admire them.
prejudiced, tied to no peculiar opinion, This is a solemn truth, and held good but free and open to truth and convictioa equally in the natural and moral world; equally, on which ever side: this is the it was on this generous principle that bigheft point of human liberty, and the Plato and SOCRATES, and a thousand proper and just privilege of a man with other worthies of old time, grew more fome fare of wisdom, who is ambitious virtuous the more freely they employed of encreasing it. their discerning faculties; that honeft free. Judging of things is not resolving, dom they profefled taught them all the affirming, and determining concerning Social virtues.
them : this would set afide all poffibility Wisdom is dearable ; this ought of all of enjoying this with the second quality of things to be the highest in esteem, as it is freedom, the not being tied down to any
Opinion; but judging is properly the exa- wise by reflection and remembrance, to' inining strictly the subject, and weighing be the 'Tuperintendant, the preserver of well the reasons and counter reasons on nature, that is, of tlié works of God, and all parts, adjusting the true weight of each, be aš it were his vicegerent to the lower and thence, by comparison, making out feries of his creation, to regulate and de the truth of the whole.
termine concerning them, to see vice and Obfihacy and passion in an argument error in his fellow.creatures, and by may be proofs of a weak caure to be sup there, as well as by. Better examples, to ported; but they can never be arguments form a proper plan of action for himto evince a sober person.
self; He is no longer free in his judgment There is no way to att this but freewho is possessed of the certainty of his judging; this is necessary to the allotted own opinion; and he only can be justly perfection of man" on earth; and to go honoured with that name, who uses his about to deprive him of this, is to make utmost efforts to find out what is most him no longer, a human creature, but å consonant to truth and reason, most pro fellow for the brutes." This is the means fitable to himself and others, and yet of fuperiority between man and man; judges of this without coming to any final and by 'this the wise, the serious, and the resolution, or any condemnation of the reasoning, that is, the free-judging man, is contrary opinion ; but profeffes bimself, as far above the common rank of men, as after all his researches, ready to hear all, they above the brutes, Man differs more to be pleased, not offended, at another's from man ihan man from beast, is a memocontesting the prerogative of his favoured rahle sentence in one of our greatest opinion, and ready to entertain a better, geniuses. That people born with natural as soon as he hears it. If truth be to imperfe&tions, ideots, or lunatics, should be had, he will this way arrive at it; not understand the value of this glorious and on every fair dispute of this kind, he quality, is not to be wondered at, but to either grows wiser by embracing the opi- be lamented; but its value and pre-eminions of his antagonist, or happier in a nence cannot but be known to all who confirmation of the irrefiftible truth of have the natural means of thinking at his own.
The three great steps to wisdom, the Pride and obftinacy have so far prevail. judging freely, the remaining unbiaffed to ed in the world of late ages, that the any system, and the readiness to receive in general opinions are for the most part formation, thus mutually support and prod kuch as it is an honour to depart from, pagate one another. All that we fee be- We suppose the nation we belong to the fore us,' every object that the mind can wisest and best instructed in the universe, take in, is to be judged of with the utmost the most judicious in its manners, and freedom. The genuine office of wisdom, and most rational in its customs, of any in the the most proper, the worthiest, and the world : and why do we think fo? Doubtmost natural exercise of the mind of man, less, there are many things in which we is to judge: that wisdom, which, at frit, excel; but we do not peculiarly pride inspired the practice, grows Atronger with ourselves in these; prejudice of educais, and every act of the mind on this tion, and a firm confidence in opinions plan renders the next more easy. . we have never examined in the scale of
Why was man created with all the pre- reason, is the only ground for our think. eminence of sense and speech, above the ing fo. But the philosophers of old, the rest of the animal world? Why had he a free-judgers, the ferious and redate reasonsoul, an active conscience, principle im- ers on all things, nobly despised the pres planted in him, capable of judging, of valence of opinion. They generouny reasoning, and reflecting? These great could say, Among all the various laws, prerogatives were not allotted him, that customs, and opinions of the world, Mall he might be able to erect edifices in the we arrogantly pretend that none are good air, and flatter' his pride with fooleries and but ours? Has all the world been mistaken, vanity: no, but for better purposes; co except ourselves alone? Do not the proenable him to understand and determine feffoss of what seem to us the most absord all things that come before him, to grow of all the foreign cuftoms, think las December, 1761.
642 A short Account of the Uses of Mr. Lyle's new Malbematical Principles. Britila warmly about them, and equally despise were the reigning fashion; and SOCRATES and pity us for even the best of ouis? died for professing one God, when the rest And Mould not we, had we been born and worshipped two thousand. A diffent like bred up among these people, in general this from the general opinions, even in have paid the same reverence even to the matters of religion, where it is ridiculour. worst of them, and judged those of every ly absurd and inconsistent, is . noble other nation as absurd and erroneous proof of free-judging of things. The few who exercised their reason free- We may learn this noble leffon from ly, would alone have been better infor. the generous heathens practice in this med among the barbarous people; and care ; that where virtue is concerned, it is even among the most civilized and polite, not enough to judge with freedom, but those few have always found in many the wiser few ought to communicate with things, what the crowd reverenced to equal frankness, and with unshaken perbe odious and despicable. There just rea- severance, the result of such judgings and Toners were not swayed by prevalence of examinations as every common mind is opinion ; PLATO could preach up every not capable of, virtue, in an age where many of the vices August 19, 1761.
A poort Account of the Uses of Mr. Lyle's netv Matbematical Principles and
Piral curves, which are by far the most are two sorts; the one of which contains
beautiful, the mott various, and perhaps all those curves, each of whose circumvothe most universally imitated in the orna. lucions lie in the same plane, and the other ments of nature and art, of all others all those which wind out of the same whatever, have never been considered geo- plane. Of chore perfect spires which le metrically, except what little was done in the same plane, there are two forts. by ARCHIMEDES of Syracuse, the great The firft contains those curves whole geometrician and mechanic, about two spaces, or the distances between each cirthousand years ago, to the plane equalspire; cumvolution, are equal, commonly called nor has there eyerbeen found ousany geome. Archimedes' (pire. Two semi-circumvogrical principle of generating or defcribing lutions, or segments, of this curve, joined shem.
and reversed, is the true cima, or cimaise, These confiderations induced Mr. Lyle, imitated in ornaments. The second con. feveral years ago, to consider the matter tains all those whose spaces are unequal. thoroughly, in order to supply chis de:ect of this last, there is an infinite variety in geometry and mechanics. This he has but the chief of them are thofe whole done with success, and not only found out Spaces are, in arithmetical or geometrical certain true geometrical principles for ge- progressions, or other progreflions com. nerating an infinite variety of these curves, pounded or effected by them, decreafing from which their properties are clearly de or increasing cowards the centre. Three monstrable, and which probably will be circumvolutions of those, whose spaces are published in a treatise called Thı Ele: in arithmetical progression, terminating at MENTS OF SPIRAL CURVES; but has the distance, from the centre, of one ninth Allo constructed instruments upon these part of the longett femi-diameter, or the principles, for describing such of the curves distance between the cenue and the conias are most frequently imitated in the mencement of the curve, is the true outer manual arts, as truly, and, with a little curve of the antique Ionic, or plane vopractice, as easily as a circle is described lute: the same number of circumvolutions by a common pair of compasses, or a trait of the same kind of curve, beginning at line drawn by means of a ruler.
the distance of eight of the same parts Though these (pires, or spiral curves, from the centre, and terminating in one are infinitely various, they may, in gene point with the other, is the inner curve; rol, be divided into two kinds, perfed and and a circle described about the centre, toperfect spires. Of the perfect spires there with the distance of this point of termina